Of Peanuts, Wolves and Kettle Korn

Shasta as St Francis at the Whitesboro Peanut Festival
Shasta as St Francis at the Whitesboro Peanut Festival

About a week or so ago, I told y’all about Shasta dressing up as Saint Francis. I dubbed her Brother Wolf after the short story I also recently published. This past weekend the small city of Whitesboro, Texas celebrated its annual Peanut Festival. My church, St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church has a booth there every year. They hold raffles to raise money for different church projects. This year they were raising money towards building a new parish hall.

I don’t always attend the peanut festival, but I have gone a few times now. The first time was to attend the car show for the purpose of photographing the old cars. The second time was for some together time with Shasta and photographing some old cars. This year was strictly for Shasta, kettle korn and playing mascot for the church’s booth.

I had the idea on the way home from our venture to Petco where Shasta won 1st place in their costume contest. I turned to Shasta and said, if you be a good girl, I’ll take you to the peanut festival! I don’t think she was impressed or enthused.

Whitesboro is a small town known for its peanut farms. Unfortunately, there are not many peanut farms, if any, left. The little city on the western border of Grayson County doesn’t let that stop them from celebrating their heritage, though. Every year, they put on the peanut festival which brings in loads of vendors of food and interesting wares. There’s music and rides. If you get there fairly early, you can catch the parade that goes down Main Street in front of the post office and city hall. People come from all around to celebrate.

Shasta as St Francis at the Peanut Festival
Shasta as St Francis at the Peanut Festival

Saturday, October 21, the day of the Whitesboro Peanut Festival I gathered up Shasta’s costume and led her out to the truck. We found a parking spot in a field south of town, as usual, and walked up to the festival. It was an overcast day which worked great because it was supposed to be in the 80s. Slight winds and a couple of rain drops kept the day a little cool. Nice for Shasta since she was the one wearing the costume. Me? I just wore shorts and a tshirt that I designed with her image and one of my cats that read “Crazy Cat Lady and Dog Diva.” The shirt itself brought its own attention. Most people only read the “Crazy Cat Lady” part and laughed because I was walking a dog.

Shasta and I approached the St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church booth and were greeted by our fellow parishioners. They all knew Shasta because she’s been to the church numerous times. Most recently, she attended the outdoor Mass we have for the feast of St Francis on the closest date to St. Francis’ feast day of October 4th, which this year fell on the 1st. This is when we do a Mass just for the animals. People bring their pets for a special blessing.

Shasta’s presence at our church’s booth brought attention from everyone who walked by. Children loved her. They all wanted to pet her. Parents wanted to take pictures of their children with her. I had no idea how Shasta would handle that. Being her wolf nature, she’s usually a little fearful. However, when she’s in costume, she seems to think she’s incognito… or maybe no one knows who she is… can’t see her… or maybe she thinks she’s some sort of super hero. Regardless, she seems to be less fearful. She let the kids walk up to her and even pet her. She allowed parents to take photos of her with their kids standing next to her. We stayed a couple hours. I hope Shasta brought enough attention to the booth, and they raised a bit of money for the church. They had good prizes for their raffles; so, it was just getting folks to stop and purchase a couple of tickets.

The funniest thing was the guesses as to what her costume was. Lots of children and adults came up taking turns guessing who or what she was suppose to be. I think Star Wars won out with children guessing she was an Ewok or a Jedi. Adults tended to guess she was a monk. One even suggested Friar Tuck, which was hysterical since my name is Robyn!

Shasta as St Francis at the St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church booth in Whitesboro, TX (courtesy of the Sherman Herald Democrat)
Shasta as St Francis at the St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church booth in Whitesboro, TX (courtesy of the Sherman Herald Democrat)

 

I explained to folks she was supposed to be St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and of our church. There is an age old story of St Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio. The wolf, a lone wolf, preyed on the town of Gubbio, Italy. The townsfolk called St Francis in for help in dealing with the wolf. St Francis mediated an agreement between the wolf and the people of Gubbio. If the people fed and cared for the wolf until his death, he would protect the people of Gubbio. I explained I try to keep Shasta’s costumes wolf related since she has a little wolf in her. While I was explaining this story, a woman walked up. She explained she was with the Sherman Herald-Democrat newspaper. Sherman is about 20 miles east of Whitesboro and the largest city newspaper in the county. She asked if she could take Shasta’s picture and a picture of the booth for the paper. I agreed for Shasta, and my fellow parishioners agreed for the booth. The photo appeared in the online story of the Whitesboro Peanut Festival; however, not in the printed version. I took a screenshot to keep for Shasta.

After a couple hours at the St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church booth, Shasta started to get tired. I could see it in her face. I told everyone we were going to have to go. I still had to stop and stand in line at the Original Kettle Korn booth to get our fresh popped kettle korn. That line is usually super long. I can’t go to the peanut festival without getting their kettle korn. It’s the best kettle korn! They pop it right in front of you in a huge open kettle. Thankfully, the wait wasn’t that long this time. It was getting late; so, the crowd was getting less and less.

As we headed back to the truck, people were still gawking at Shasta and stopping to pet her or ask who or what she was supposed to be. After we got home and all settled down, Shasta spent the rest of the afternoon napping. She’s such a good dog to put up with me. I love her and the memories we make!

Original Kettle Corn booth
Original Kettle Korn booth
(courtesy of the Herald Democrat)

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